It’s amazing how Search Engine Marketing (SEM) field has changed in the past 2 years. I was an in-house SEM associate in Washington DC about 2 years ago and due to personal reason, I had to leave the position. Now, I’m back in the game, things have changedâ¦.for the better of course.
I summarized the changes below:
1. Adwords editor
Pre Adwords Editor: For every change, I had to update my excel file, send it to my Google rep and ask her to upload the change. After that, I had to wait anxiously for the change to kick in and hope that everything went smoothly.
Editor era: Now, I can make a change that can instantly be reviewed and modified before sending the final change to the engines. This is a God sent tool
2. Google new Reports
A. Search Query Report
Pre Search Query Report: I monitored the performance of my current keywords. If they did well and converted, they stayed. If they wasted money and didn’t convert, either I lowered or paused. Other than that, I didn’t do much on the keyword expansion. As for the negatives, the keywords listed were based on the understanding of the business itself.
Search Query Report era: I can see what keywords trigger my ads. Some of them are very good and bring in conversions. Guess what, they’re not on my list yet. I can add it right away. Conversely, there are unrelated keywords that also trigger my ads and they eat up our budget. Not a problem, I can add these as negative keywords. Thanks to this report, I can do keyword expansion periodically and potentially increase conversions.
B. Placement Performance Report
Pre Placement Performance Report: Just like Search Query Report, I chose which sites I want to have my ads shown.
Placement Performance Report era: Not only I can see how well my content sites perform but I can also see which sites are holding us down. With that said, I can add URL that will bring in conversion and exclude bad URLs. Another killer report.
3. PPC Management and Bid Management Software
Dark ages (my experience): Switching back and forth between engines, gathering the data and compiling the data in an (sometimes complicated) excel sheet.
Enlightment era (the arrival of PPC Management/Bid Software): One interface for Google, Yahoo, MSN. This is a perfect way to save us time. However, the million dollar question will be whether it is worth the money? I guess it goes back to your needs. Do you need PPC management software that focuses on easiness to switch between engines and providing strong reporting interfaces. Or if you choose the bidding management route, this software lets you automate bidding adjustment. You set your cap and settings, the software will automatically adjust them. It all comes back to you, if you’re comfortable with this, go with it. If not, bid management software might be your answer. As for me and my PPC team members, our journey might end soon.
4. In house vs. Agency
My in house experience: We did everything as we go. No scheduled optimization plan.
Agency: In here, I can “borrow” best practices from clients with similar background. Also, I can improve communication and customer relationship skills. It is always good to have! Lastly, the Optimization Plan. It’s simply genius. With this plan, you can test and monitor the changes. After that, you are able to review the results and most importantly, to convey the results to the client.